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Removing stem(3 posts)

Removing stemTower
Apr 24, 2003 9:26 AM
A question from a newbie wrencher.

I'd like to flip my 3T stem to try the increased rise. I seem to remember hearing that you loosen the top bolt first, then the bolts holding the stem to the riser (?).

Then do that in reverse order when replacing it. The top bolt should only be hand-tight?
Remove the top bolt, flip the stem, but there is more...Spunout
Apr 24, 2003 9:37 AM
The top bolt is the pre-load for the headset bearings. You must take care to tighten it to eliminate headset play, but not too tight, before re-tightening the stem bolts.

Will help explain better than I can .
re: Removing stemKEN2
Apr 24, 2003 10:05 AM
You have the order backwards. Loosen stem bolts (usually two along the sides) first, then unscrew the top cap and remove the stem and flip it. Resetting the top cap requires a bit of knowledge and finesse--basically you're looking for no play in the headset, but no excessive tension either because 1) your steering will bind and 2) the headset will wear prematurely.

One way is to progressively tighten the top cap after it's more or less finger tight, by 1/8 turns or so with the allen wrench. After each move, check for headset play by grasping the fork, setting the front brake, and attempting to move the bike to and fro as the tires sit on the floor. If you feel play, tighten a little more and so on until there is no play. Then lift the front end and make sure the steering operates without binding, i.e. it should flop from side to side when you raise the front end.

When this is all adjusted, center the stem over the front wheel and tighten the side bolts. Go back and forth like you would on your car wheel lugnuts, except of course they shouldn't be nearly as tight.